Chris Sietstra

The value of a Northwestern College education

Chris Sietstra
Senior accounting and psychology major
Boyden, Iowa


"I recently accepted a job with a Big Four accounting firm in Minneapolis. Positions at these companies are highly sought after. I was competing with candidates from some of the biggest state and private schools in the country—and at times wondered how I would ever stack up against someone with that caliber of an education. It was during the interview process, though, that I finally realized how impressive my Northwestern College education is.

When interviewing for jobs, I would be asked to describe my experience in the classroom. They wanted to know whether I had worked on group projects, spoken in front of an audience, filled out tax returns and done tax research. They asked me about times I had to communicate with others or handle conflict.

The hardest part of the interviews wasn’t thinking of a time when I had to do these things; the hardest part was trying to keep my answers within five minutes! I told them about my experiences working collaboratively with my classmates on everything from tax returns to marketing projects. I described the many opportunities I’ve had to speak in front of groups. They heard about the daily one-on-one interactions I have with my professors and about the leadership roles I’ve held where dealing with conflict was inevitable.

Nearly everyone I interviewed with did the exact same thing: They looked at me and asked, ‘What college do you go to?’ I would answer, ‘Northwestern College in Iowa,' and they would say, ‘If that’s the quality of education you are receiving, I’m sending my kids there!’

I’m so thankful for the way Northwestern has prepared me for my career. I feel ready to live courageously and faithfully in Christian community—and to me, that means being a leader in the workplace as well. I can say with confidence that I got this job because of the quality of the education I am receiving at Northwestern College."